Tuesday, January 13, 2009

This is with reference to an article "Jinnah was born here" in published in your newspaper on Jan 11. Even though Jinnah himself said that his birthplace was Karachi and Fatima Jinnah said that he was born in Kharadar (in Karachi), there are people who still think otherwise. If, as the writer claims, Jinnah's maternal grandparents were from Jherruk, and his mother went there to give birth, it follows that she (and therefore Mr Jinnah) should have been able to speak Sindhi. But it is well-known that the Quaid could speak only two languages (English and Gujarati). This can be confirmed by those who had close contact with him (like Mr Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada).

I am reminded of a similar controversy regarding Mr L K Advani (whose place of birth was said to be Advani Mohalla in Hyderabad). When he came to Karachi a couple of years ago, he visited the house in which he was born (near Quaid's mazar in Karachi). This was shown on most TV channels. Despite this, I know people in Hyderabad who believe that he was born in a house in Advani Mohalla in Hyderabad. And so it was with the founder of the nation: just because someone inserted a piece of disinformation in a Sindhi textbook in the early years after partition, thousands of people in the rural areas of the province would continue to believe that Jherruk was his birthplace. Under such circumstances, I won't be surprised if someone in future claims that the Quaid is buried in a tomb somewhere in Jherruk (and not in the mausoleum in Karachi). After all, anything is possible in Pakistan.

Shakir Lakhani